While the current state of the world, given the COVID-19 situation, is uncertain and concerning, I’ve tried to make the most of my time practicing social distancing. I’ve found joy in the simple pleasures: texting and calling friends and family more than I usually do, washing, drying, and folding the laundry all in the same day, taking my dog on extra-long walks,; cleaning the kitchen cabinets and finding all sorts of treasures (like 4 boxes of baking soda), re-planning and re-scheduling my entire wedding that was originally slated for May, but most importantly, these past few days have given me more time to cook.
The extra time has allowed me to enjoy the process of cooking rather than just satisfying my hunger on a basic level. I’ve actually had time to look at my expansive collection of cookbooks and cooked at least one dish every day for the past week. Cooking has not only kept me well fed, but it's kept me inspired.
Last Sunday, I decided I should treat myself to brunch, and it got me thinking about the Apple Pancake at The Original House of Pancakes. I have fond memories of going for breakfast with my parents and grandparents, waiting in what seemed like an endless line, for this magical pancake. I actually don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything else, and it’s safe to say I never will. It’s a puffy, eggy mound topped with perfectly caramelized apples and smells almost as amazing as it tastes. I’ve never had anything like it, anywhere else, until I came pretty deliciously close in my own kitchen.
This is a great dish for a crowd – it will feed 6-8 people, and kids and adults alike are bound to enjoy it. I love that the batter itself is not sweet, while the apples are. No syrup needed! This pancake is a version of a Dutch baby, or German style pancake. It’s baked in the oven so you don’t have to stand in the kitchen flipping dozens of pancakes, leaving you more time to enjoy mimosas (virtually, for now) with friends.
Additionally, unlike traditional American pancakes, there is no chemical leavening agent like baking powder, but the pancake puffs due to being baked in a hot pan (similar to popovers) and hot oven. Some versions of the Dutch baby are topped with lemon and powdered sugar, others with fruit, and I’ve even seen savory versions with arugula and Parmesan. Treat yourself!
Baked Apple Pancake
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, sliced (no need to peel!)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, milk, eggs, vanilla bean paste, nutmeg and salt. I like to use a large bowl so that I have plenty of room to whisk and get some air into the batter. You can also opt to put this batter in a blender if you prefer! The batter will be much thinner than typical American pancake batter.
3. Heat your 10-inch pan of choice (cast iron or non-stick) over medium heat. Add your butter.
4. Once the butter is melted add the apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
5. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until caramel has formed and apples are soft but still maintaining their shape.
6. Pour batter evenly over apple mixture.
7. Set the pan in your preheated oven and bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown (it will deflate when removed from the oven!).
8. Carefully invert the pancake onto a platter and cut into wedges!
I usually end my blog posts by offering a list of upcoming classes pertaining to the subject at hand, but this time I’d just like to offer my sincere thanks to you - all of our amazing customers. It’s been incredibly humbling to personally speak to so many of our guests during this unprecedented time. Everyone has been so kind, patient, and understanding while we weather this storm together. What’s even more exciting is the number of conversations I’ve had with guests enthusiastic and excited to sign up for a cooking class as soon as it is safe to do so. While we are working hard to get our May calendar up and ready, I just want to thank you all for being so wonderful. The Chopping Block is extremely lucky to have guests like you. We can’t wait to see you in our kitchens again soon!